Slings for swings

IrishGolfer.ie
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Embodied Pilates Owners Louise Carey left and Laurie Keegan Schneider

“It’s certainly not that golfers have big heads,” jokes Laurie Keegan-Schneider, “but our heads do weigh a lot, and knowing how to organise them, along with our neck and our shoulders can help lead to a lot less strain on our bodies and an improved swing.”

Laurie is an experienced Pilates instructor, and she’s talking about some of the key tenets of Slings for Golf, an innovative new movement class for golfers she has created along with her colleague, Louise Carey.

First of its kind
The class is the first of its kind to be offered here in Ireland. It’s one of a series of Slings for Sport classes that the innovative pair have devised to coincide with the opening of their new Embodied Pilates Studio in Derry City.

Derry girls
It’s a huge move for the pair with both relocating from Dublin to fulfil their long-held dream of opening their own Pilates Studio. Louise is giving up her career as an international actuary and has returned to her hometown, while Laurie will be moving her family, lock-stock, and (ladder) barrel once the school year ends.

Launching online in September for small groups, and with slots already available online and in-person for one-to-one tuition, the pioneering new classes focus on using the anatomical myofascial Slings in the body.

Explaining their importance for golfers, Louise said: “Myofascial Slings are something that you are going to be hearing more about as many of the world’s top sportspeople are introducing them as a core part of their training and recovery sessions.

Slings for swings
“There are seven key slings in the body according to Tom Myers (the author of Anatomy Trains). The map of Fascia lines or Slings, as created by Myers, shows the longitudinal bands and loops of connective tissue including muscles and organs in our bodies. This is based on relatively new anatomical knowledge and analysis of how the musculoskeletal system really works.

“These are all connected to one another so that we have stability and mobility. When our muscles contract, these structures work together to produce our movement.

“Nothing works in isolation, so when we swing a golf club, not only are we using our upper limbs, neck, head, and shoulder, we are also relying on our core strength and good coordination in our lower body because of the force transmission property of fascia.

“Our Slings for Golf classes are based on the findings and practices of Karin Gurtner who has put Tom Meyers myofascial Slings into movement and created the Slings in Motion practices.

“These allow us to consider the need for golfers to maintain good posture, head, neck, and shoulder organisation, and have the ability to weight change.

“We know golfers also need to have consistently good rotational patterns throughout their whole movement. That’s why we devised our new Slings for Golf class to create sequences of movement which improve a golfer’s agility, flexibility, rotational capabilities, and stabilisation.”

Inspiration
Both Laurie and Louise have over 30 years of Pilates teaching between them, so what made the pair think of golfers now? The answer, says Laurie, was a golfer she knew well, her own dad.

“My dad has played golf for as long as I can remember. I had already been teaching him Pilates and saw the improvement in his core strength, but then he had to go in for hip replacement surgery.

“At around the same time, Louise and I became one of only a handful of people here in Ireland to become qualified as Slings in Motion instructors. Having completed the course, I realised that a lot of the Slings sequences would be really beneficial in building up the key parts of his body that Dad needed to get back to playing.

“Since undergoing the training, his strength, stamina, and power have all increased so much. We then realised that so many more people could improve their game if they followed these sequences and so we set about devising the class.”

Improvement
How quickly will people see an improvement? According to Louise, clients will experience an immediate change in how they feel after just one class, with improved flexibility and a decrease in stiffness; “With regular classes, players can expect some positive changes in their body. We’ll teach them how to use their body’s slings to move better, produce more force, and create more speed and power. People will feel the power transferring between their upper and lower limbs and see an edge in their game. They are also a lot less likely to injure themselves.

“A lot of people think that golfers don’t need to work out but it’s crucial to build up strength and balance between both sides of their body, particularly during the off-season, to prevent injury. Golf involves a lot of time in certain positions where you need a strong core, back, and legs. Strength training is as important as golf practice and our movement sequences involve golf-specific movements which can be transferred onto the course.”

Encouraging people to give the classes a try Laurie says there’s no better example than her own father of the power of harnessing your movement in the right way: “Post surgery, Dad has used to Slings for Golf to gain strength, stability, and flexibility and he’s now playing better and hitting further than ever before. He also has none of the little pains after a game like he used to have. I’d encourage anyone who wants to enjoy their game more to give Slings for Golf a try. There’s absolutely nothing to lose.”

Embodied Pilates Studio (EmbodiedPilatesStudio.com) is currently offering its Slings for Sports classes in person at its Studio at 2 Clarendon Street, Derry, as well as one-to-one online and in person sessions. Slings for Golf will also be available in small group tuition and on-demand from September. Please email hello@embodiedpilatesstudio.com to register your interest or call Louise on 07470518398.

To mark the upcoming launch of their Slings for Golf classes, Louise and Laurie have created a sample sequence for Irish Golfer readers which can be accessed below.

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